Chrysa decided to live in Zurich

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The idea of gathering all my stuff and moving to someplace “else” without a specific preference as to where this should be existed in my mind since the age of six.

I would prepare a little bag with a dress, a pair of panties and El Macadorel, my beloved one-eyed stuffed little elephant. Later, with my cousins as accomplishes, I would hide in my uncle’s car having Astros, Kynouria, as my destination.

I still had this mindset when in 2005 I found myself in Amsterdam for studies, having first roamed through Europe with cheap flights. I stayed there for five years.

The reality of living someplace else without anyone there to bail you out of hardships was quite different from travelling. After a record number of changing homes (fourteen rooms in three and a half years), in 2010 I took the tough decision to return, taking my Dutch cat with me.

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In 2015 I started travelling again together with my boyfriend in Zurich and Canada, since that’s where he worked.

As an illustrator, I can work remotely from anywhere. Without much preparation we moved together in September in Zurich. My first take on the city was like that of a gourmand facing hospital food. The city was colourless, tasteless, made for elderly people or someone who desperately desires to make a family. Not for me. Seeking for a job, I continuously met the language barrier.

My German were and still are non existent. For three months I kept hating more and more the idea of Zurich, and like a new Nero I was dreaming of its burning for my inspiration. The only thing was that Zurich didn’t have to catch fire. My brain did.

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Following a one month break in Toronto and a few days in Pinerolo, Italy, for some reason I didn’t want to return to Greece. During those eight months I had written two books, I had illustrated the exquisite book of Nadia Dracula “The Camping”, I had started finding work and, most importantly, I had started loving my place of residence.

Maybe it was the fault of a thirty kilometre trekking in the Alps, the co-working space Digital Glarus of our friends lost in the mountains, the small communities like Autonome Schule (autonomous school), or that magical river running through the city; it’s called Limmat and I usually swim there every day no matter what, even if it’s frozen. But most probably it’s a matter of people.

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I’ve met some of the most special people in Zurich, the ones who tend to make my each day magical with their incredible stories and their smile. Most of them are not from here, so we can complain without filters for the outrageously high prices or the Swiss bureaucracy. Therefore, even I have begun to store my travelling backpack in the attic, living every single day here with its ups and downs.

P.S. Somewhere here I should thank all my friends. Without our marathon-length phone talks I wouldn’t have survived anywhere.

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Chrysa Chouliara is a sculptor, illustrator, writer, graphic designer and occasionally a Swiss army knife.

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Originally posted in Bovary

 

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